Bandas Deux

8081 Leopard St. Corpus Christi, TX • (361) 289-2566
Every Day 5:00AM – 3:00PM

Taco Show Host had coffee waiting at Bandas when I showed up.  Seems to be a bit of a role reversal.  Previously I’ve always been the early bird.  But I wasn’t too late because the coffee was still hot.  We had ventured out Leopard…way out Leopard.  Past the many oilfield service companies where the blush of the 80’s oil bloom is long worn off.  I don’t get out that way much anymore and to be honest, it looked better than I expected.  Business seemed to be thriving even if not at the level of the past.  Banda’s showed some wear though.  I’d driven past the building for decades and never stopped in.  Back in the day there was a topless joint at next door.  It now has an Orkin sign on the side.  I never went in there either because the place looked scary back then…like even Orkin would have trouble getting the roaches out of the place.

There were a few patrons in the restaurant when I walked in and sat down.  The coffee cups were small, but the wait staff was thorough in its delivery of the black elixir.  I ordered two tacos, a machacado con huevos a la Mexicana on corn, and a chorizo con papas on flour.  Both tacos were good.  I was a bit worried on my first bite of the papas con chorizo.  The potato was cooked perfectly, soft, but not too soft, but I didn’t get that slap in the face I expected from the chorizo.  However, it turned out that my first bite was just a potato that had missed the chorizo boat and every subsequent bite had that deliciously greasy, vinegary chorizo flavor.  It could have only been better if the papas had had a bit of char to them.  The flour tort was very good, if just a bit doughy. It was thin and soft, though and held up to the chorizo onslaught like a trooper.  The second taco was also very good.  It had some trouble with the corn tort – a bit dry and chewy. I think the corn tarps at the Bandas uptown are exceptional and it could be that opinion is affecting my calibration.  It was good, but not exceptional.  There was plenty of carne seco in the Mexicana mix and it was done like I like it.  Not too moist.  More like the shredded jerky it is, with little attempt to rehydrate it in the cooking process.  The vegetables in the Mexicana were fresh, bright red and green, and their flavors accentuated the dried beef.  I thought at first that the tacos were a bit slender, but I now think it was because I was hungry.  There was plenty to the tacos and I was satiated completely. Bandas had a green salsa that was fresh and hot with chilis and really added a warm depth to both of the tacos.

If you find yourself out that way, and in the mood for a taco.  Take a friend.  While the atmosphere is not exhilarating and the facilities are a bit run down, the two of you can have a great, fresh breakfast for under $8.  I’m sure I’ll be going back.


Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Dawn Wells

Considered typecast by many as 60’s TV classic, Gilligan’s Island as the farm girl Mary Ann, she has had quite a career in film and TV.  Still appearing and working, and at 72 still looking good.  Miss Wells certainly tips the scales in her direction in answer to the age-old question:  Ginger or Mary Ann?

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer at Whetstone Graphics on a Friday morning of your choice. Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs.  Enter to win by emailing your name on a original copy of Winterhawk to

Hermanos Solis 3

All signs should aspire to be this beautiful.

5403 Leopard, Corpus Christi, Texas • 361-299-1717
Mon–Thurs 5:30AM – 9:00PM, Fri – Sat 5:30PM – 10:00PM, Sun 7:00AM – 3:00PM

Steven Slater this last week did what many of us often hope we could: he told some jerk to shove it and bailed out, with a couple of beers. It’s an American folk tale – as much a part of our mythology as the immigrant arriving on our shores with a dollar in his pocket and a good idea starting a multinational corporation. Lately a certain vocal segment of our population would prefer we turn immigrants away when arrive on our shores.  ‘We just want enforcement of existing immigration laws,’ they say. I take this with a grain of salt, considering the same segment laments the death of free-market competition while using competition for jobs as the main argument for stronger enforcement of immigration laws. I try to stay out of politics. The Republicans are as a rule unified in their opposition to anything the Democrats do. The Democrats are predictably incapable of agreeing amongst themselves, much less capitalizing on any success they win or comprimising their virtues in the futile hope of currying favor with their opponents, or with the voters. They’re both out of touch with the real world and they’re both little more than little more than a campaign money driven ponzi scheme. I feel like I have to take a shower every time I read the news, but I’ve got a dog in this fight. I love tacos. Immigration, legal or otherwise, benefits from Immigrants.

There have been no reviews for the last month. A vacation? No, just too busy. I didn’t pull a Steven Slater and give up the search for the best taco. On this particular morning I met the Hat at Hermanos Solis #2, way out on Leopard near N.P.I.D.. If you’ve eaten at the Hermanos Solis #2 on Old Robbstown, you have a pretty good idea what to expect. Great carne guisada, great chorizo & egg, great tortillas. This place is different though. There’s a counter with steel mounted barstools. It’s got a little bit of the feel of a truckstop in the seventies, or maybe the cantina in Episode IV of Star Wars. The roughneck in the booth facing me stared me down until he was distracted by the waitress, at which point the focused on his migas. There ware two salsa, and both were excellent. Six or seven tiny cups of coffee had me ready to get on with the rest of the day, in spite of the hearty breakfast. Every day is better after a taco or two, if they’re tacos like this.

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Susan Sarandon

Since the Rocky Horror Picture Show she has existed in the nexus of class, brains, and sexuality. Her turn with Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie in one of the most unknown and under-appreciated vampire movies, The Hunger, will leave you wanting to sacrifice your soul to her. She spends a lot of time fighting the power, but few would argue she’s doesn’t have it going on. Especially at 63.

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer at Whetstone Graphics on a Friday morning of your choice. Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs.  Enter to win by emailing your name on the back of White Palace to

Torres De Jalisco – Reinvention Intervention

3302 Leopard St, Corpus Christi, Texas 78408

We gather together today to discuss a restaurant on Leopard Street. Look up above at the photo and you’ll notice two signs say Torres De Jalisco, and another sign says Feliz Am Lunch Special. I occasionally make signs in my business (insert whetstone graphics plug here) and I’m a tacoteur, so I’ve had my eye on my place for a while now. It was a little beat up restaurant called Feliz Amanecer.

About a year ago I noticed they were redoing their sign. As someone who is always excited by activity on the taco scene I was intrigued. A year later and they’ve changed their name, presumably their owner, and that sign was never finished. The Hat actually suggested this place to me, noting there was a flower painted over a crack on the plate glass window. Classic.

This may not be the ideal way for this restaurant to reinvent itself, but everyone has to work with whatever is available to them.  Apple was on the brink of collapse in the mid 90’s before Steve Jobs came back to oversee the most amazing corporate reinvention in history, and in the process reinvented the music marketplace and the phone. It only took him one liver and half a pancreas, and an applecart full of black mock turtlenecks.

There are others who seek to reinvent themselves. Madonna has reinvented herself so many times that she’s ended up looking like the only thing she hasn’t been before – a surly longshoreman in drag. There are others who reinvent themselves with the help of a third party: Woody Allen via Soon-Yi Previn, Lance Armstrong via Michele Ferrari, Mickey Rourke via Darren Aronofsky, and Britney Spears via Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson has done some reinventing of himself lately, or perhaps he’s just let us see behind the curtain, or he’s trying to reinvent douchebaggery.

So we met up at the joint and got out taco on. While it looks pretty bad on the outside, it’s only kinda bad on the inside. The carpet looks like it’s been on the slab in a quick-lube for the last 10 years, but the tables were clean and well appointed and with the big windows there was a bright and lively ambience.

I ordered the usual – a carne guisada and a chorizo & egg. Here’s the rundown: the C&E was bland and light on the C, the C&G was average, the coffee was fair. The service was quick. The salsas were great. The tortillas were handmade but on the low end of the scale for handmade tortillas. A handmade tortilla is always better than a shelf tortilla, but we can do better in Tacotopia.

The experience altogether, in spite of the less-than-stellar fare, was quite pleasant. As always there was good company, and I do love the end of the week with a side of tacos even if the weekend will only be more work but without customers. I am a fan of the aesthetic of the underdog. I like my celebrities slightly flawed. I like my movies dark. I like Corpus Christi because of the tragic beauty of leopard and downtown, not in spite of it. As such I like looking out on the gritty early morning on Leopard, one of the most used up streets in the city. For tacos, you could do better (in Tacotopia that is) but it was not a bad experience. All the elements were there. Fresh hot tortillas, good service, great salsa, an interesting view. Maybe after the new staff doesn’t clean the kitchen for a few months the fillings will have a little more flavor.

From the Hat

Here it is Jim!  It’s all my fault.  I’m sure that Taco Show Host has his weekly contribution to that Grand Idea that is Tacotopia in the can.  Waiting…impatiently…for Tacotopia to hit the presses.  Well, I’m to blame.  I’d like to say that I’m late ‘cause I had to go sign for my Lotto winnings up in Austin but if that really happened, Taco Blanca and I would just disappear.  Or maybe I was on the phone because Alton Brown had a question about frying a turkey.  But no, I was working…Like everyone else I know.

This is where I’d wax poetic if I had a poetic bone in my body – some sparse sprinkling of sap that would convey my state of being, but still be about tacos.  Not the easiest thing to do sometimes.  The weekly Tacotopia gig is a down-home, good-time, relaxification and I dig it.  It’s Sanctum Sanctorm in life.  That sparkle of Yin in the Eye of Yang that spices up the end of the week – this week better than others as we were graced by the presence of Taco Blanca.  I know this is a taco blog, but it’s worth mentioning that her $3.00 Migas a la Mexicana must have been 3 eggs with serious homemade corn tortillas and beans.  She seemed to savor it like it was the real deal.

I on the other hand ordered tacos, as is a Tacoteur’s responsibility.  A nopalitos con huevos on flour, and a barbeque on corn.  Now I must say up front, my taste buds were configured for barbeque – brisket.  I got barbacoa con cilantro y  cebollas.  Nopalitos and egg tacos are the most misunderstood of all tacos.  Even most purveyors of the prickly pear guide you towards an “a la Mexicana”.  But to truly appreciate the cactus taco, you have to meet it head on – well, with eggs.  This taco was mostly good.  Not a resounding “Good!”, but not bad.  The nopalitos egg combination worked, the pickled pads were plentiful and spiced with a good heat.  There were plenty of eggs, but the tarp was doughy.  Definitely an anchor in the ensemble.  The barbacoa was Tacotopia average.  The barbacoa you can get at most taquerias in town.  And again, my tort was poorly executed.  Corn, okay, kinda like pizza and …  But this was not exciting.  Both tacos were aided immensely by addition of salsa.  Torres de Jalisco had two very good salsas.  The rich red was robust and fresh with onion, garlic and tomato.  Just enough pico to announce its presence.  But the green was delicious.  Fresh pepper and spices, that made themselves known with a vigor.  The tacos would have been seriously dissed without one or the other.  But tacos are a blend, best when all parts contribute to the fullest to sate the appetite.  The service was excellent and the coffee was good, so I enjoyed the experience.  Could be I’m just disappointed that the newest taqueria within walking distance from my house is not a home run.  I’ll give ‘em another chance.


In following weeks Tacotopia will be reinventing itself, to some extent. Expect a different look, and a slightly different format. I may be diverging from my standard two tacos and branch out. Lets face it, how many times can you describe chorizo & egg and carne guisada before the reader stops giving a shit? And while Tacotopia is little more than an excuse to eat tacos on Fridays, and to gloat to the rest of the world about how much better our tacos are than theirs, it wouldn’t be anything without you. So if you, as a fellow taco enthusiast, have any suggestions as to how we can make the site better please let us know at

Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:

Valerie Bertinelli

One more reason to wish you were Eddie Van Halen back in the day, Valerie Bertinelli was the ultimate rocker chick back when the couple shared hair products. Now that she’s reinvented herself she’s one more reason to be glad you’re not Eddie Van Halen. Hats off for proving rocker chicks aren’t all blonde, and don’t all have to make sex tapes.

Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer at Whetstone Graphics on a Friday morning of your choice. Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs.  Enter to win by emailing your name on the back of the Complete First Season for One Day at a Time to